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The site of the battle of Marathon in 490 BC, in which the heavily outnumbered Athenian army defeated the Persians. The tumulus or burial mound for the 192 Athenian dead that was erected near the battlefield remains a feature of the coastal plain. The Tymbos is now marked by a marble memorial stele and surrounded by a small park.


The name of the athletic long - distance endurance race, the "marathon", comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek soldier, who was sent from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been miraculously defeated in the Battle of Marathon. It is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping, but moments after proclaiming his message "Nenikekamen" ("We were victorious!") to the city, he collapsed dead from exhaustion.

There are two roads out of the battlefield of Marathon towards Athens, one more mountainous towards the north whose distance is about 34.5 km (21.4 miles), and another flatter but longer towards the south with a distance of 40.8 km (25.4 miles). It has been successfully argued that the ancient runner took the more difficult northern road because at the time of the battle there were still Persian soldiers in the south of the plain.

Marathon is the Greek word for fennel. It is believed that the town was originally named so because of an abundance of fennel plants in the area. After Miltiades (the general of the Greek forces) defeated Darius' Persian forces, the Persians decided to sail from Marathon to Athens in order to sack the unprotected city. Miltiades ordered all his hoplite forces to 'Double-time' march back to Athens. So by the time Darius' troops arrived, they saw the same Greek force waiting for them.

The sophist and magnate Herodes Atticus was born in Marathon. In 1925, a dam was constructed by the American company ULEN in a valley above Marathon, in order to ensure water supply for Athens. It was completed in 1930. About 10 km² of forested land were flooded to form Lake Marathon. The Dionysos-Nea Makri road passes through a traffic-light-controlled one-lane driveway on the crest of the dam wall. The plain area lies to the southeast.


Marathon Lake

Burial Mound (Tymbos)